Payroll Compliance: Pharmacy Industry

Cloud-based payroll software for a simplified and automated approach to Pharmacy Award compliance.

The Importance of Modern Award Compliance

Modern awards are an essential component of the Australian fair work system. They outline the terms and conditions of employment for workers in various industries, including minimum wages, hours of work, leave entitlements and other conditions.

Awards provide a safety net of minimum entitlements for employees and help to create a level playing field between employers and employees. They also ensure that employees are treated fairly and equally, regardless of their industry or occupation.

By providing these essential protections, modern awards help to create fair and just workplaces for all Australians.

In the pharmacy industry, this is no exception, making it crucial that you – as a business – know where your responsibilities sit.

If you fail to comply with the Pharmacy Award, as laid out by the Fair Work Act 2009 – such as incorrectly paying wages or specific penalty rates and entitlements – you will be deemed as breaching workplace laws, with the risk of facing heavy fines.

On top of this risk, continuing to contravene an award can lead to severe consequences for your business, including potentially having to pay back any lost wages and rates to the employee(s). For most organisations, this can be seriously detrimental, with additional penalties often ranging from:

  • Fines of up to $12,600 as an individual for each breach
  • Fines of up to $63,000 as a company for each breach.

Biggest Pitfalls in the Pharmacy Industry

The Pharmacy Award sets out the minimum wages and conditions for employees in the pharmacy industry, including pharmacists, pharmacy assistants and shop assistants. It also covers issues such as hours of work, breaks, rostering, annual leave, personal/carer’s leave and parental leave.
However, while you can review the Pharmacy Industry Award on the Fair Work website, the document is often filled with complicated legal jargon, making it challenging to understand whether or not your pharmacy business is meeting all the compliance requirements.

Unfortunately, there’s not much guidance from the Fair Work Commission regarding staying compliant with all its regulations. So, pharmacy businesses often find themselves falling into non-compliance traps purley based on a lack of awareness or misinterpretations.
For example, did you know that if your pharmacy assistant or pharmacist can’t take their meal break due to urgent matters requiring their involvement, they are entitled to a penalty rate of 150% of the minimum hourly rate?

If you didn’t, you’re most likely underpaying your staff.

And with a recent focus on payroll compliance from Fair Work Commission Australia and media coverage of businesses guilty of wage theft, it’s more important now than ever that companies understand what’s expected of their obligations when it comes to being compliant with pay rates and employment conditions.

Another big pitfall for employers in the pharmacy industry is the award allowances.
The Pharmacy Award proposes specific allowances when employees have a particular skill or perform certain tasks. These allowances also apply when employees use their own tools or work in unpleasant or dangerous conditions.

For example, suppose your pharmacy assistant, pharmacist or other employee works in the County of Yancowinna in New South Wales (Broken Hill).

In that case, they are entitled to an allowance of 4.28% on top of their regular wages. The Pharmacy Award introduced the allowance to compensate for a decision made to reduce their five weeks paid annual level to 4.

Employers often think they can add an extra chunk of money to their employee’s salary or wage. But that’s not how it works. You have to pay them according to each and every allowance relevant to their line of work. And if you don’t, you could face some pretty hefty penalties.
So, what is the solution? Cloud payroll software and automated time and attendance software.

Unfortunately, manual payroll processes can lead to mistakes that could result in non-compliance. Cloud payroll software can help to mitigate this risk by automating payroll processes and ensuring that award rates are always up-to-date.

Employment Hero Payroll

Employment Hero’s cloud payroll software automatically applies modern award or enterprise agreement rules to ensure your business remains compliant year-round. 

Beyond that, you can automate your entire payroll process from importing timesheet data, gross to net reporting and leave accruals for all scenarios to super calculations and ATO reporting.

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NoahFace Time &
Attendance Software

NoahFace offers an app-based time and attendance software called NoahFace Go which automates scheduling, time tracking and attendance records for site workers. 

In addition, the timekeeping records will automatically integrate with your Employment Hero cloud payroll software. 


Employment Hero

Go paperless and automate the employee onboarding process with Employment Hero’s employee HR software - an end-to-end people management platform that covers every aspect of the employee lifecycle.

By incorporating everything you need to recruit, onboard, roster, and manage your aged care team, Employment Hero increases efficiency and drives productivity across every aspect of your workforce.


How Pay Cat Can Help

Pay Cat streamlines your HR and payroll management process through an all-in-one system that makes running your business a breeze.

With varying modern awards and industry regulations to get your head around, we understand that working out your obligations as an employee can be overwhelming.
Let our implementation specialists ensure your business remains compliant and in line with relevant regulations, awards and employee entitlements. Keep your company out of the danger zone and on track with a team that knows how these standards differ from one sector to the next.

Never get it wrong. No back pay calculations. No inefficient manual interpretation. No data re-entry.

If you’re interested in moving from a manual payroll system to an automated cloud payroll system, get in touch with us today for a free demo.